Previous Next

Like Calling Brigadoon

Posted on Sun Dec 29th, 2019 @ 1:12pm by Kodria Mizu & Hera & Ensign Briaar Gavarus & Ensign Fiona O'Dell
Edited on on Tue Dec 31st, 2019 @ 11:43am

Mission: Neutral Zone Neutrality
Location: USS Hera, Deck 9, Briaar Gavarus' quarters
Timeline: 2396
Tags: Minerva Moo Mary Margaret Mona Carrot

Packing up her quarters was taking quite a bit of time, it seemed. Beyond serving alpha shifts on the bridge, which meant no chasing after the wee one on breaks, what time she did have was spent with Gavarus and Minnie, taking care of the baby. So in her spare time, Fiona O'Dell was taking an hour a night to pack up her old quarters in preparation for the move. The transporters could relocate everything, but not all of the adhesive strips on the walls, or the magnets. Most of her instruments traveled in cases, but getting the harp in her case was a bear to manage in the small quarters.

Of course, Gavarus had offered to help, but Fiona was doing it herself. Not that she didn't trust her porcine partner to be careful, nor was she overly concerned that her bouncing bovine baby would wreck her fragile and delicate keepsakes. Instead, Fiona was taking the time to look back over her life, and to prepare herself to face it again.

All of her life, she had been surrounded by men. Large men, for the most part. The O'Dell boys were the shortest at 5'9", and that was William, who they called Bull because he was as broad as he was tall. The O'Dell brothers were all a large and stocky lot, firm hands and full heads of hair, handsome and charming and from a well-to-do family. Particularly after Willoughbee married Gavina, a Miraposian clone gal with quite the fancy house and manor, with standing in the community.

No one had expected another child, but along came one randy old man and a woman who appreciated the attention, and along came wee Fiona. Wee was an understatement- the child was born prematurely, and the genetic infusion of the hardy native stock of the O'Dell's seemed to have been diluted in the small and sickly infant that clung to life. For the first six months of her life she lived in an incubator, denied her mother's touch for fear that germs would destroy her fragile immune system. When finally she was released to her mother's arms, it was already clear that the child was abnormal, and the odds of survival were low.

Already thirty-five colonists had successfully reproduced with the Bringloidians, although a number of the children demonstrated genealogical abnormalities. But from a culture known not to frown on inbreeding and a culture built on cloning techniques, there were bound to be some hiccups along the way. Fiona O'Dell was another of those 'hiccups'.

Staring at the photo of her mother holding her, already six months old yet looking much like a small newborn, the adult O'Dell sighed. Mum hadn't approved of Starfleet. All those hours of lessons from so many tutors to teach her all the old ways skills her father had insisted on so that she would carry their culture and pass it on to her children, to raise Mariposians who would not forget their proud Bringloidian roots. It would make her father happy, and that was always supposed to be motivation enough for Fiona, who dutifully obeyed. Until Angus took her up in his cloud skimmer, and showed her the controls, and let her fly. Sitting in her big brother's lap, powering and twisting the aircraft through the air was a thrill unlike any she's ever known, and in the moment she knew her destiny would not be one of needlepoint and pie baking not cheese fermenting.

Nor would it involve babies, she recalled with a chuckle.

They hadn't spoken in years, not really. Eventually, it was just Da answering the calls, often from his bed. Fiona loved her mother, but the irreconcilable differences between them had driven them apart, and she had regret for that. But she couldn't be the perfect little Gaelic princess they wanted betrothed to some dunderhead from a good family to use her body as an incubator for the next round of genetic experiments.

Starfleet had accepted the diminutive daredevil as part of an outreach program. Only one applicant per year per colony world could be guaranteed to get into Starfleet Academy, and for the year 2388, the only applicant from Mariposa was one Fiona O'Dell. In point of fact, she remains the only applicant to the Academy from the planet thus far, which has an average of 10 breweries and distilleries per square kilometer higher than any other planet in the Federation.

Despite having an engineer for a life partner, Fiona had not built nor maintained a still. It was a lot of work, was illegal without authorization from Science and Ops, and she was busy chasing after a baby while doing testing all day. Which she found gratifying. Chief Gonadie had let the set up a playpen in the R&D break room, where the child could be somewhat close, but safe behind reinforced transparent aluminum. She and Gavarus traded turns chasing the child, who only seemed to be fussy when her diaper needed changing. So far they were remarkably lucky parents with a gleeful baby who was quickly learning to walk, which was leading to little bursts of speed.


Calmly wrapping up her delicate breakables, Fiona placed them into durable packing tubs. She'd keep a few mementos out, but for now she'd pack away her hoard of treasures. When the time and place to unpack them were right for her, she'd know. Now was the time for sturdy furnishings and no irreplaceable breakables. Plastic. Lots of plastic.

Glancing around, the picayune pilot noticed a PaDD with flight analysis from the LTCDR. Picking it up, she held in her other hand the framed image of a sensor image of her father at her high school graduation. he was holding her in his arms, his grey and silver hair slicked back, with 4 of her brothers arguing behind them.

Picking up the PaDD, Fiona sent a request to the bridge. To comms, to place a personal call.


The old man stirred in his sleep, as the ringing of a bell sounded from the tablet on his bed. It was the sound he'd chosen, with which he was most comfortable. It still took him a moment to gather his wits once awake, then pat about on the bed looking for the contraption. Finally finding it and tapping the surface, he wedged himself up in bed to be ready to deal with whatever news this brought with a grunt, which was when the call connected.

"Da! Da, s'me, yuir wee Fiona!" O'Dell grinned down at the PaDD she was still holding as she navigated the hallways. Communications worked quickly on this boat. "Long time since we 'ah a chin wag, aye? Ah miss ye, Dad."

On the screen, the dimly lit face seemed older and gaunter than the last time Fiona had seen William Angus Joseph Campbell O'Dell. His silvery hair seemed wispier, and those deep wrinkles cut harder into that still proud face. But that face had an all too familiar expression on it as he answered the call. It was somewhere between annoyance and judgment. "Ach, an' who is this, now? 'Fiona'? I've a daaahhter named Fiona? Tis hard t' remember seein' as how I don't ever hear from her since she up and went off to go tryin' t' break her wee neck flyin' rocketships like one'a her daft fool brothers."

"I curse th' day yer idiot brother put you on that infernal contraption 'a his. Ruined ye' it did. Hullo, Fiona." The irate sounding man grumbled as his tone lightened slightly.

“Hello Da. It didnae ruin me, it taught me the one thing I’m good at that mad me happy instead ‘a everybody else. I’da thought we wanted that fuir me, seein’ as how you were allays goin’ on aboot how me happiness was so important to ye.” Fiona pouted slightly at the statement as she was closing in on Briaar’s quarters. “How’s mum?”

"Ya' coulda been right happy settlin' down here at home. Marryin' a good local boy and makin' me a gran'pa, ya' ken?" The elder O'Dell said with a light scowl on his weathered face. But as he spoke, the scowl was replaced by a more reserved expression as he shook his head.

"As fer ya' mum... we tried messagin' ya', but y' jus' had to go off galavantin' around space. We called, but bluddy STAARfleet said yer ship was 'unavailable'. Bluddy blatherskite." The expression swung around as he spoke from emotional to upset and back to a scowl. "If ya' stayed home  like ya' shoulda... Fiona... yer mum..."

"Yer mum's gone."

Entering into the cramped quarters she shared with its occupant, the midget Mariposian staggered a few steps before sitting heavily on the couch, eyes wide and desperate as the pit of dread grew in her stomach. “Gone? What’dye mean gone? As in she left ye, or… d’ye mean… GONE gone…?”

Tears formed in the eyes of the little lass as she spoke, and realization was driven home, written across her father’s face- now twice widowed.

"No, Da..." she managed before the tears took her.

On the screen, the craggy lined face furrowed deeper as the elder O'Dell stifled his emotions with nothing more than a sniffle. And as his daughter cried on the couch, the door to the small bedroom wooshed open as Briaar Gavarus came out in a pair of pink shorts and a black t-shirt that said in bright pink letters, 'BACON', holding the miniature minotaur that was the duo's adopted daughter, Minerva, up at arm's length.

The porcine engineer was turning the cooing baby back and front, inspecting her handiwork. "Yessiree, diaper changed and looking cute as hell. That is one clean ass... baby?"

Stopping mid-sentence, both the bovine baby and her tall Tellarite mother immediately noticed the crying Mariposian and rushed onto the couch next to her, oblivious to the PaDD or the image of Fiona's father on it. "Fee? Holy shit, what happened, Fee? What's wrong?"

“It’s… it’s me mum, she’s… she’s gone, Briaar.” Clinging to the much larger rough-skinned Tellarite, Fiona pulled the grabby-handed minotaur toddler into her lap and clutched her as she tried to compose herself.Through her tears, she managed to address her father on the unsteady PaDD in her lap. “How, Da? What happened?”

"Your mum... she came down wit th' fever somethin' terrible. N' ya' know how she... she was. She didn't pay doctors no mind n' wouldn't listen when I tried to get her to go. It was only a few days and... and she was just..." he said, in a low voice, his eyes down as he spoke. But as he paused, his eyes raised up to look at Fiona, and instead saw his daughter wrapped up in hugs out of nowhere.

On the screen, Angus was trying to angle to see what was happening with a Minotaur butt taking up most of the screen as Briaar leaned in and began gently rubbing Fiona's head and whispering, "Oh my gods, Fee. Oh, Fee. I'm so... I'm so sorry."

"Wat in th' NAME a'... Fiona! Wat IS That in the center a' th' screen?!" Angus shouted, trying to make heads or tails of the literal tail in the screen.

With the bad news, Fiona reached for her father as Minnie the minotaur baby smushed her face into the PaDD at the old man onscreen. "Hold on poppy," the litlle leprechaun tapped her comm badge, "Ensign O'Dell to bridge communications. I have an allotment of long distance time and signal as I recall, and I've nae used a whit of it. We've got balls holographics, Briaar said so. Kin we hook me an' me Da up wi' a holographic subspace call? Tis bad news, and me family needs me."

There was a pause on the other end of the call as O'Dell the youngest looked to O'Dell the senior, taking in her father's heartbreak written across his face. Her own heart went out to him and she struggled for something to say, some words of comfort in the miasma of her own grief as the Hera dropped out of warp.

"Your father needs to be in a holographic reader of some sort for this to work, Ensign. Does he have access?" came the call from the overhead. Holding the Padd out so she could look at her father at eye level, Gavarus behind her, Fiona asked urgently. "Da! Have ye got a holobooth? Somethin keepin the grandkids occupied?"

"A holo... ya' mean that fool nanny-booth that yer brother Fergus put in fer the wee ones?" Angus said, still trying to get a clear view of everyone in the room. Meanwhile, Minnie was doing her level best to grab the PaDD for herself to identify the source of the voice while Briaar angled awkwardly behind Fiona's mop of curls nervously. 

Groaning and grunting, the elder O'Dell leaned up, pulling himself upright in bed. It was clearly a significant effort to do so, and he made it known as he did. "Ach, that contraption is probably filled up with toys and who know what other mess. Hold on, girl. I swear yer brother jus' puts 'em in there so he don' have to deal with 'em. Lazy, the lot of 'em."

"How many grandkids noow Da? Cynthia stopped publishing the family newsletter so I fell behind oot here," Fiona asked, distracted as she had distracted her own father, getting him to shuffle across his bedroom and down the hall to the playroom.

Kicking a ball out of his way, he stepped none too carefully around the bricabrack scattered across the floor. "Twenty-seven. And greet grandkids noow. Yuir brother's boys are cut of the same mold, and the Mariposian maidens are ever willing, as they say..."

"Daaaaaaa, stoop." Fiona protested as the old man found the colorful and festively decorated nanny booth, and he opened the door, picking his way in carefully. Closing the door behind him, the surroundings lit up as a green field with a herd of shaggies off to one side, and a barn to the other. On the bridge of the Hera, the PaDD signal picked up on the nanny booth signal, and the Hera locked onto the house, projecting into the holobooth to bring to the elder O'Dell the sensation of being in the small and messy quarters of his daughter's family. And for her, there in holographic glorious flannel pajamas in the O'Dell red, white green and gold plaid, stood her aged father.

Bolting off the couch, Fiona fairly tackled the holographic representation of her father as he stood, and only the holonannie's safety features kept him from being thrown off-balance.

"Dad... m's'sorry... Ah wish Ah coulda been there fuir ye. M's'sorry, Da." Tears flowed as the grieving young woman tried to comfort herself for not being there for her father, with apologies, as one in grief does.

"Ah know, mah wee Fiona. Ah know," Angus said as he patted and stroked her tangled mop of hair, which hadn't changed a lick, he noticed. Then, he looked around to take in the cluttered and crowded quarters, as well as the other two occupants, who were now perfectly delineated for him, holographically represented.

On the couch, Minnie Moo stared up in fascination at the elder O'Dell. The one who sounded so much like Mum, as he stared back at her, she smiled, shyly at first, then she giggled and waved at him.

"Ahhh... Fiona, me daarhling... You've a wee cow and a giant pig woman there behind ye." The perplexed patriarch said, tilting his head at the sight. "Ya'... ye ken that, right?"

"Yes, Da, I know," Fiona detached herself from her father, taking his hand in the process. Leading him across the cluttered floor, she gestured and made introductions. "Da, this is Briaar Gavarus. She's an able engineer and the best friend I've ivvir had. She saved me life an' I saved hers and we're partners in crime. The wee bebeh here is Minerva Moo Mary Margaret Mona Carrot- she's an orphan, a one of a kind who's touched by... well, not exactly angels, but she's a touch of the fae to her, shall we say. She and me, we adopted her, because, well..."

As her father took in the sight and Minnie turned up the cuteness, Fiona fetched a chair, then set it behind her father . As he was a bit stunned, she led him to sit down. As he formed up what to say next, Fiona darted back in to cuddle up to the tall Tellarite on the couch, taking the big rough hand in her own small and pale grip of both hands. "She and me... Ah loove her, Da. She makes me happy, and we've a wee one who's just as odd as we are, and... m'happy, Da. I've got this great big life out in the stars and me best gal and a wee happy bebeh, and... I know tis nae what ye wanted fuir me ta do, but she's s'good to me, Da, and I make a decent... mum."

Remembering the recent news of her own mother's passing, Fiona's smile faltered a bit as her eyes filled with tears again. She gripped the three-fingered hand tightly... well, for her.

"Uh… h… he...he….hel… 'sup." Briaar said, stuttering with an awkward smile as she waved with her free hand, blushing deeply. "I'm… I'm…"

"A pig? Is that a.... That's a pig, Fiona. I don't… a PIG!?" Angus' confusing and emotions bubbled up as his face scrunched up.

As he did, Briaar muttered nervously, "Uh, Tell… Tellarite."

"I thought ye were on a Staaaarship, not a flyin' barnyard!" Angus continued, starting to shout over the anxious engineer who started to sink in the couch slightly. "A pig n' a cow?! Is yer bluddy CAPTAIN a Chicken?!"

"Well… actually…" Briaar raised a finger to talk then pulled it back and snapped shut as Angus glared at her.

"That's right Da... a pig and a cow," Fiona replied, wiping tears from her cheeks. "Me girl and me bebeh, they are indeed a pig anna cow, and Ah do, coincidentally enough, work for a chicken, though she's the chief, not the cap'n. Cap'n's a gel with spots like a giraffe. Ah know, s'a bit mooch ta take in at once." Still holding Gavarus' hand, Fiona picked her chin up and eyed her father. She wasn't spoiling for a fight, but she'd not back down from one either. For now, she gave her old dad some time to think about it, this being the first he'd learned of her somewhat unique relationship status.

"A bit mooch indeed, it's..." Angus stammered as he looked, talking in the sight of the bizarre family projected before him, built around his own baby girl, all grown up. The Elder O'Dell's mind raced for a moment as he looked around the holographic projection of the room, taking in all the details.

Then, his eyes paused, locking on one of the piles of machinery at the foot of the couch. One of the many piles of seemingly random engine parts strewn about the room. "Ach, what a bluddy mess this is. Tis worse than yer brother Duncan's idiot garage, Fiona."

Darting up to meet Gavarus' nervous gaze, she shot her a question in as stern a voice as her could manage, "You, BriaAAAr, wuz it? Is this all'a yuir flotsam and jetsom lyin' about? Wit a bebeh ?"

"Uh, y... yeah. YES! I'm mean, yessir. Mr. O'Dell, sir, yes." Gavarus stuttered as she answered, her hand clenching on Fiona's a bit tighter than expected, causing the tiny test pilot to stifle a wince for a moment. But after a second, the grip loosened and Gavarus continued.

"Yeah. I'm... I'm an engineer and I... I like to... tinker and work on stuff. Most of this is stuff that was gonna be discarded from shuttle repairs and... and stuff like that. And Minnie... we'll sit on the floor and... and it's ALL cleaned and de-greased and..." The portly porcine ran her free hand through Minnie's hair playfully, causing the tiny tot to giggle and lean into her larger mother's ample tummy.

"And Minnie will sit and play with her blocks, watching me work. I'll show her what all the pieces are, and tell her what they do, and she plays along, making little things with her blocks or screwing two pieces together." The quivering Tellarite was getting a bit bolder as she spoke. "And she's really tough. She can chew on this stuff and scratch IT. There ain't NOTHING she can hurt herself on in here."

"Indeed." Angus simply said in a sharp response, still eyeing her judgmentally. Then he turned towards his own daughter and knitted his brows. "And I don't see a lick a' your things about? No family pictures or yer instruments? If that wee one's t' be an O'Dell, how's she g’win ta know it?"

“Daaaaaa,” Fiona responded, rolling her eyes. “We’re movin’ into family quarters, because we’ve been operating oot’a Gavarus’ quarters. But all me instruments, me clan tartans, me pictures and holos of the family- they’re all in me quarters, believe me. I was packin’ em all oop ta move ‘em when I realized I... needed ta call ye. Have no fear- she’ll know all aboot the Irish and Brigloidi and the Mariposians, the potato famine an’ her long and storied history of relatives. She’ll know everything ye taught me, and I’ll keep our traditions alive even oot here in the middle ‘a space.”

"W... well, she's already been to Ireland when we were docked in the Sol system a few weeks ago, so that's a plus, right!" Briaar nodded with a nervous grin, though Angus just stared at her blankly while she did. Internally, he felt a pang of jealousy, as he himself had never been to the wellspring of their clan.

“And she’ll know she has kith and kin on Mariposa,” Fiona added softly, fetching the babe with a grunt and parking her on her mum’s knobby knees, so she could reach out to her adopted grandfather, her big brown eyes alight with wonder and joy.

Usually, little Minnie seemed to have an almost magical knack for seeing through holograms or glamours. During their aforementioned trip to Ireland, a cloaking hologram couldn't hide her favorite babysitter, Jaeih Dox from her keen senses. And the magical glamour of the goddess Hera to conceal her true age didn't fool the tiny tot either. But in this instance, it seemed as if the opposite were occurring. Rather than seeing through the hologram as if it weren't there, it felt for all the universe like Minnie could truly see the man on the other side of the quadrant as if he were right in front of her.

Minerva tilted her fuzzy, brown-furred head to the side and blinked those enormous, deep brown eyes a few times. As she did so, the elder O'Dell tilted his head to match her motion while her mothers watched. After a moment, he slowly reached out his own hands and gently lifted the babe off of Fiona's lap with a strained grunt.

Setting her down on his lap, the holographic aged patriarch looked over the miniature Minotaur as she reached up and gently stroked his face, smiling. For a long moment, the two just looked at each other before her finally spoke. "Ya' say her name is Minerva? That's a fine name. Ah don' know aboot this 'Carrot' nonsense, though, cuz' ye look like a right O'Dell t' me."

A grin cracked the lined, old face as he said so, to which Minnie began to bounce excitedly on his lap and start giggling like crazy.

“Well, that… could be discussed,” Fiona looked to Briaar, shrugging and nodding their acquiescence that they could discuss it. Turning back to her father, the wee wonder of the Hera reached out to place a hand on the holographic reproduction of her father’s knee.

“I know tis different, Da. And I know tis not what ye wanted, nor is it helping Mariposa. But… well, we certainly dinna plan it at all, but we’re a family, Da. A family needs roots, and… I’d like fuir Minnie to know hers. I’ll teach her the pub songs and the traditions, and she may nivvir be able to play the harp like me,” Fiona admitted, as her father held the three-fingered hooved hand in his own. “But she’ll know to honor those that came before, and she’ll know of her proud ancestors, and she’ll make ye proud of her. Joost like I’ve allays tried to do.”

Unable to keep a dry eye, Fiona just let the tears tumble as she plead with her father not to reject her unusual family although to anyone else it was clear her explanations were wholly unneccesary.

The old man holding Minnie shook his head and smiled, a crinkly thing that sat crooked on his face. "Fiona, daarlin'. Ya' picked a path I would never have picked for ya', an' I may miss ya' something fierce. But I ain't never been anythin' but proud a'ya. And that ain't changed."

"YOU, on th' other hand…" he turned his attention to Gavarus, who about leapt out of her skin when she heard him. "You think I'm gonna let jus' innyone take care a' my Fiona an' her wee one, then ya' best pay me some mind."

"Uh… yessir?" The portly porcine said, thoroughly confused as he continued.

"You treat her right! You treat this wee one right! N' ya' don't give me NO reason t' git on no staaaarship t' come an give ya a whoopin', an' we'll see." Angus narrowed his gaze and pointed at her, to which Minnie simply grabbed his finger and tried to suck on it before relinquishing the tasteless hologram digit.

"Yes sir. I will, sir. You have my word, sir." Gavarus said, completely flummoxed.

"It's his joab ta be sterrrn ta the suitars," Fiona whispered, although it wasn't much of a secret. With a refresher from her dear old Da, the ginger jockey's broughe was bordering on another language. "T'put the fear'a God innem so's they'll think twice aboot mistreatin his daater. S'a guid sign, it means he approves, at least fuir now. So no great row wi' screamin an' hollerin and drinkin." Pausing to look at her now lonely father, playing with their adorable daughter, O'Dell's eyes filled with tears once more. Her mum was gone, just like that. It had been just an accident of timing that had caused her to call, to seek out her family after packing up the pictures in her quarters. Otherwise she might not have known for months yet.

"M'sorry I dinna call s'often, Da..." Fiona began, then gestured at her daughter sitting on his holographic knee. "I canna do a call like this every day, but I kin send ye photos and notes and keep ye oop on what yuir smallest problem is up to in ooter space. Joost because I'm far away shouldnae mean I canna be in touch, aye?"

"Me smallest problem..." Angus said as he looked Briaar up and down again, "N' clearly me new biggest one." Then he brought his attention back to Minnie, who was bouncing on his holographic knee. "Ye' better. I want pictures and r'gular updates on this wee little monster. N' I wanna see ye' all fer real as soon as ye' c'n git some leave frum that shippa' yiurs."

"It's nae easy papa... ye know Mariposa awfully far from the rest'a the Federation. But aye, we'll come to visit proper, I promise. Meanwhile we kin keep ye oop on things, aye?" At that, a chime sounded, and the Comms officer came online.

"Ensign O'Dell, we've been sitting dead in space for five minutes for this call. The Captain's patient, but she's not THAT patient," the voice on the other end said, as O'Dell realized that she'd put the entire ship on hold just so she could have this conversation with her widowed father. Bouncing up from her seat, tugging Briaar's hand with her as she went, Fiona O'Dell moved to hug the hologram of her father, while back on Mariposa, her father had the unique sense of hugging his daughter, although she and her family who moved in with the hug were light-years away. As Gavarus wrapped them all in her burly arms, Fiona scooped an arm around Minnie, then kissed her father's cheek.

"Ah loove ye, Da," she whispered, cupping her free hand to his unshaven cheek. "Be well, and know that yuir farthest star still thinks of ye often, aye?"

"Ah love ye too, my wee Fiona. I'll be lookin' farward t' yiur next message n' some pictures. Yer brother's r' guina have a right holiday with this, ye' well know." Angus said as he placed a holographic kiss to her forehead. "An' ye' best brace yerself, Briaaaar. If'n ye think I'm a haaardarse, ye ain't seen nuthin' yet."

With his tone much more pleasant, Gavarus relaxed just enough to respond with a bit more of her usual style, "Yeah, well, I don't have to pretend to not be a bitch with them, now do I?"

"Ah, there ye are. I might end oop likin' this'n, Fiona." Angus said as he gave Minnie one last hug that the tiny Minotaur returned with all of her strength, letting out a squeaky grunt as she did. "N' this one, I'll be seein' agin soon. Here ye' go. Back t' yer... t' yer..."

Pausing, Angus held Minnie out for Fiona to take and his voice choked a little as he smiled. "Back t' yer mum."

"G'bye Da..." Fiona choked out as the holographic image of her father faded, then the Hera leapt back to warp. Turning slowly, the bright emerald eyes of the little leprechaun sought out those of her porcine partner.

"So that was me Da, eh? Not the worst first meetin... I think he likes ye. I dinna..." Fiona pursed her lips as she hefted the toddler onto her hipbone. "We were raised catholic, and there were strict rules aboot who ye could loove, and what ye couldnae do oota wedlock. I was afraid me family... well, me Da... might object to... well, pig and a chicken and a cow and life in the barnyard in space. M'nae even g'win ta mention the goddess part, or the kids wi' er blessing or nunnathat, because pretty sure that's heresy..."

"Yeah, I think that's probably info best kept to ourselves. We'll keep the heresy to ourselves." Briaar said as she walked over to the replicator to order up two beers and a bottle for Minnie. Seconds later, in a swirl of golden sparkles they appeared and the portly porcine carried them over, giving Minnie her bottle. Then, handing the extra beer to Fiona, Briar flumped down hard on the couch. It groaned in protest under her prodigious paunch as she let out a groan of her own.

"I guess he still might object when he actually meets me for real, give him time." the Tellarite engineer sighed out. "Still, I don't think it's possible t' not love this little one, right Minnie Moo?"

"Ye kin hold yuir liquor and ye've a lifetime's experience dealin wi' drunks. Ye'll get along like houses," Fiona dismissed, bending at the knees to let Minnie off. "Has to happen sooner or later young missy, so let's get ye used to it noow, ayte?"

Saying so, the slender, puny pilot set the stocky little Minotaur toddler on the ground. "Accordin to the manual, she grows up aboot 4 times faster'n a human child. So she kin walk... the problem is she's g'win ta go from 'walk' to 'run' in no time flat, and the rest'a the world ain't quite ready fuir that. Ye still pootin' tagether that force field belt, Briaar?" Setting little Minerva on her feet, Fiona looked at her daughter, knowing the times she could pick her up and hold her in her arms were done. "Time ta be a big girl, aye? Kin ye be a big girl fuir mummy?"

Little Minnie nodded emphatically.

"Yeah, It's comin' along. I'm havin' trouble getting the power supply small enough, but I'm almost done with a version that'll work perfect on the ship." Briaar said as she took a big swig of her beer. "It's using a subspace juice transfer, n' can work off the ship's grid. I guess I can make a portable battery for her diaper case in the meantime if we're off ship that'll have a decent range."

Taking the hand of the babe as she wobbled a bit, getting used to being on her own hooves, the wee spitfire turned to her partner in life, the unlikely love the universe had sent to her. As Gavarus smiled nervously around a long draught of her beer, wondering what was up, mummy led the child over to embrace her momma in a group hug whose dynamics would change over time, but remain a tradition.

"I'm still g'win ta have ta cry a boonch about me mum. But I've me family here, and that'll see me through. And I've still family back home," Fiona turned to look at the empty chair where moments ago the holographic representation of her father had sat. "An' maybe da's right... mebbe she should be an O'Dell?"

Putting her beer down, Briaar leaned into the hug. "You cry as much as you need to, Fee. We'll both be for you all the way."

Then, the portly porcine blushed slightly as she smiled and looked down at Minnie, hugging on Fiona as hard as her little arms would let her, then over at the pint-sized test pilot she fell in love with harder than she ever thought possible. "Yeah, maybe. She's got a lot of family all over the quad, and they ain't Carrot's. Maybe this is an... O'Dell family."


In the nanny booth in his rather expansive home in the M sector, William Angus Joseph Campbell O'Dell stared in the darkness of the deactivated booth, on the plastic bench that had felt like a soft chair beneath him as he'd bounced an adorable baby with cow ears, horns and a tail on his lap. This as his youngest daughter, the one who'd never quite finished growing up on the outside, yet was the one most like he himself, described her life with the pig girl and their cow baby on a starship where their boss was a chicken and the captain a giraffe. The daughter who had called when he hadn't gotten out of bed save to relieve himself for the past week, held immobile by grief for his dearly departed Margaret

Everyone had always called Fiona a leprechaun, with her pixie grin, irrepressible good cheer, and her fun-loving soul. But as it settled on him that he was out of bed for the first time in a week, William O'Dell realized he needed a shower, a shave, and some food in him. His wee Fiona had somehow kenned the moment she was needed, and had roused her old dad to get on with his life, with the oddest family visit he had ever experienced. Me little good luck charm, me own wee leprechaun. Shaking his head, he rose from the bench, to face the day for the first time in many days.

"Like a call from bluiddy Brigadoon."


Previous Next